Niagara Gazette — The first round of the NFL draft is tonight (8 p.m., ESPN), and in true Buffalo fashion, the Bills own the No. 8 selection — believe it or not, the franchise’s third-highest pick in 25 years — in a draft where the top talent doesn’t fit their needs.
This year’s draft is light on “talent” and heavy on, well, heavies. Of the top 12 players ranked by ESPN, 11 project as offensive or defensive linemen, positions the Bills just happen to be pretty set on thanks to some sneaky-good waiver pick ups (Kraig Urbik), good drafting (Eric Wood, Cordy Glenn, Marcel Dareus, Kyle Williams) and free agency (Mario Williams, Mark Anderson, Manny Lawson, Erik Pears).
Where the Bills do have needs — quarterback, wide receiver, cornerback, tight end and inside linebacker — this year’s crop of players provides few choices.
Let’s take a look at the options:
• Unlike last year’s draft, which produced Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III (as well as Russell Wilson and even Ryan Tannehill, though they weren’t nearly as hyped), this year presents no sure-fire QB prospects. West Virginia’s Geno Smith, USC’s Matt Barkley and Syracuse’s Ryan Nassib make up the top 3, and the only thing about them experts seem to be able to agree on is that not one is worthy of a top pick.
Nassib, of course, played for new Bills coach Doug Marrone and offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett at Syracuse. It makes sense that the the duo would want their guy, but recent buzz from some well-known football writers, including Sports Illustrated’s Peter King and NFL Network’s Albert Breer, suggests that the Buffalo staff might like Barkley over Nassib. Those can be taken with a grain of salt, though, as it’s tough to believe anything reported in the days leading up to the draft.